Geek Out: Anime Movie Era
After years of on again off again development a Robotech movie may finally grace movie screens. Initially the movie was being set up at Warner Bros. with Tobey Maguire producing and possibly staring in the lead role. While at Warner Bros., the project had numerous writers attached to it and at one time Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored to star in the movie. One would think that the star power of both Maguire and DiCaprio would have been enough to get the project off the ground, but nope. Now the rights to Robotech are owned by Sony who view the property as a potential franchise. Personally, I’ve only seen one full episode of this anime, but I do know a lot about it since my mother loves the show. If you want a history lesson then google Robotech. It’s a fascinating read as the anime is actually comprised of three other anime that was edited together to create Robotech. It gets even more interesting when the things about lawsuits over rights and royalties is explained since the anime is actually three other animes. If you’re bored then google it, if not then continue to read my lovely article. The point of this article isn’t to go over the history of Robotech, but it’s to examine the impact that a possible Robotech movie can have on both the film and anime industries.
A Robotech movie can be a great benefit to both the anime and movie industry. Let’s face it, the movie industry is fueled by comic books. They are the major money makers and it’s what most people go to the theaters to see. Once movie goers get tired of Superman, Batman, Iron Man, and Spiderman they’ll need something else to capture their attention (wow never wrote –“man” that much in a sentence before. Where –woman at?). In comes Robotech, which if done correctly can be the X-Men of the anime genre. By X-Men I mean, the first movie that came out in 2000. The first X-Men movie is what started the comic book movie train that we are currently on. So if Sony embraces Robotech the way Fox embraced X-Men then we could be looking at a future that is filled with anime movies.
Robotech has everything going for it. Sony desperately needs a new franchise. They have basically lost Spiderman and their other franchises are either dormant or were dead on arrival (Men in Black 3). Also science fiction movies are getting popular again. Guardians of the Galaxy proved that a space adventure can still appeal to fans and with a new Star Wars trilogy right around the corner, the time to go all in on sci-fi is now.
The anime industry could also benefit from a Robotech movie. After Toonami went off the air the anime market fizzled. People weren’t that interested in anime and the industry’s profits fell drastically. Lately though the industry has been doing well with companies like Funimation, Viz, and Aniplex acquiring the rights to popular anime and bringing them stateside. A major motion picture based on an anime property could bring anime back into the forefront of people’s minds.
As I stated earlier, Hollywood is in need of a new medium to mine for movies and anime is the perfect choice. Anime, like comic books have a wide variety of genres. Everything from action adventure to music based anime is covered by the medium. In fact, Hollywood may have already taken notice in the potential that anime has. Dreamworks has snagged the rights to Ghost in The Shell, the popular anime that inspired the Matrix franchise, and has even cast Scarlet Johansson in the lead role. Fox dabbled their feet in the anime pool with their Dragonball Z movie, Dragonball Evolution, but that failed terribly and for good reason. At one point in time Fox was even developing a movie on the insanely popular anime Cowboy Bebop with Keanu Reeves attached to play the role of Spike Spiegel. Mega director James Cameron has even obtained the rights to make a movie based on the manga Battle Angel Alita. The director has said that he wants this to be his next project after Avatar, but who knows when or if he will actually make use of the rights. I’m all for this. I love anime, with Cowboy Bebop being my favorite of all time and I can’t think of a better medium left for Hollywood to mine for stories. Well that and there are only video games and anime left for Hollywood to use. I’m a 90’s baby and like most kids I grew up watching Toonami which gave me my first taste of anime. Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam, and Yu Yu Hakusho, just to name a few, are the anime that I grew with and the thought of seeing them on the big screen is great. Here’s hoping that a Robotech movie can do everything I said it could.